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MChem Chemistry with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM40711
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 4
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 21/22 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  

The unit is divided into 3 parts, given by different lecturers.

Part 1.

  • Fundamental of quantum mechanics: how size and dimensionality affect the properties of nanomaterials.
  • 2D materials: graphene. Overview on synthesis, properties and applications.
  • Graphene derivatives. Overview on synthesis, properties and applications.
  • 1D Carbon Nanotubes. Overview on synthesis, properties and applications

Part 2.

  • State of the art in the nanofabrication technologies and focusing upon the interrelationship  between process, resolution and materials aspects.
  • Fabrication of Angstrom scale capillaries, one-atom thick 2D-fluidic devices
  • Atomically precise synthesis of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) and its derivatives
  • The role of chemistry in the development of nanographene materials.

Part 3.

  • Fundamentals of photoluminescence and electroluminescence from organic and inorganic materials.
  • Light-Emitting Diodes (LED)
  • Plasmonic: from fundamentals to manufacturing.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Personalised Learning Unit 2.10 CHEM30112 Pre-Requisite Recommended
Personalised Learning Unit 2.20 CHEM30122 Pre-Requisite Recommended


The unit aims to introduce the student to nanotechnology and nanomaterials, giving an overview on the approaches used for their synthesis and their structure-properties relations. The unit will in particular cover a selection of nanomaterials that are currently attracting strong technological interest, such as graphene and related structures and inorganic/organic materials for light emitting devices.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding:

  • Explain the relationship between chemical structure and the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials.
  • Predict the electronic and optical properties of materials with different size and dimensionality using the quantum    confinement model.
  • Describe the structure and properties of one-atom-thick 2D materials, such as graphene including: the band structure of graphene; the relationship between edge structure and properties.
  • Describe the synthetic approaches to make graphene-based nanomaterials, its derivatives and heterostructures composed of multiple materials.
  • Describe and apply covalent functionalization for tuning the properties of graphene and produce different graphene derivatives.
  • Describe the structure (e.g. diameter, chirality) and properties (optical, electronic) of carbon nanotubes
  • Describe and compare methods for the synthesis of carbon nanotubes
  • Describe the preparation and post-growth processing methods needed to use carbon nanotubes in practical applications
  • Identify possible applications of different carbon nanostructures depending on their properties.
  • Explain the various nanofabrication methods related to photolithography and soft lithography.
  • Describe and understand the difference between photo- or electroluminescence from inorganic and organic materials.
  • Identify suitable materials for applicatiion in quantum dot (QD) or Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLED)
  • Describe and apply surface plasmon resonance in nanomanufacturing.

Intellectual Skills:

  • Apply the relevant analytical methods to investigate nanoscale chemical phenomena.
  • Perform calculations and data analysis to derive qualitative and quantitative information about the surface/interface.


Weekly asynchronous activities followed by synchronous session with problem-based learning.

Teaching and learning methods

Unseen Examination

Knowledge and understanding



Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Problem solving and numeracy skills
  • Critical thinking and critical analysis

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be given in the interactive example classes, and the pre-exam Q&A session before the end of the semester. Feedback on the exam performance will also be provided in line with school policy.

Recommended reading

Lecturers will direct students towards appropriate advanced texts.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 21
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 71

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ashok Keerthi Unit coordinator
Alexander Romanov Unit coordinator
Cinzia Casiraghi Unit coordinator

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